Acquisition Expands Conveyor Line

March 6, 2006
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SPRING LAKE — An Austrian firm's acquisition of a Spring Lake manufacturer means the plant will stay in West Michigan — and with an expanded product line.

TGW GmbH of Austria acquired materials handling firm Ermanco Inc. in August, and the deal means the firm will now add production of heavy-duty conveyors to its existing line of lightweight conveyors.

Now known as TGW-ERMANCO, the company began physical expansions soon after the acquisition.

"The quickest way to do that was to take over this facility about a mile and a half from us," said Vice President Gordon Hellberg.

That facility, the former Concord Plastics Corp. building, which had been vacant for almost two years, will be used as an assembly and technology center, Hellberg said. The expansion will allow the company 75 percent more space for manufacturing and will include room for product demonstrations, freeing up manufacturing space in the original location at

6870 Grand Haven Road

TGW is a leader in automatic storage and retrieval systems and palette conveyers, which TGW-ERMANCO will now offer in its line of products.

"We're able to take their mature product line as it's engineered and manufactured in the North American market," he said.

Hellberg said the new heavy-duty product will be introduced at the North America Material Handling Show in Cleveland at the end of March.

"It opens up so many new opportunities for us that we have not had," he said. "We're very excited about it."

While about 15 to 20 people have been added to the 200 employees at the company, Hellberg said they are waiting to see what the impact on the market will be before hiring continues.

"We, from a market standpoint, think we're going to do well," he said. "We're going to be shipping some of the first orders in just a few weeks."

Now with 175,000 square feet of space between the two locations, Hellberg said the company has room to expand further if necessary.

"There's a lot of opportunity there to grow," he said.

Hellberg said the acquisition has been smooth, with no personnel changes and a lot of enthusiasm from the employees. Hellberg said the company will keep its level of customer service the same as it has always been.

"We are very passionate about what we do, and what differentiates us from the people that we compete against is we have an outstanding customer experience," he said. "Our whole mission has been one of how to really outperform the competition by giving better customer service and support."    

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